Today in 1979 Zeppelin played their second of two Knebworth Park dates. This would also be their last show of 1979 and their last ever UK performance. Also on the bill were The New Barbarians (Keith Richards and Ron Wood), Commander Cody, Chas and Dave, the Marshall Tucker Band, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. 180,000 fans attended this day, down a bit from the 210,000 that attended the Aug 4th show.
Overall, the two Knebworth concerts received mixed reviews. Although Record Mirror and Melody Maker provided generally positive reports, journalists from other major music publications such as New Musical Express, Sounds, Rolling Stone and The Sunday Times criticized Led Zeppelin’s performances as being sluggish and rusty. With such a long layoff since their last performances in Britain, and in the wake of the punk rock revolution, Led Zeppelin were now considered to be obsolete in some quarters.
Robert Plant later said about the concerts: “Knebworth was useless; it was no good at all. It was no good because we weren’t ready to do it; the whole thing was a management decision. It was our first British gig in four years and we could have just gone back to the Queen’s Head pub. We talked about doing something like that. But instead we went back in such a flurry and a fluster to 210,000 people in a field and 180,000 more the next day, surrounded by Keith and Ronnie and Todd Rundgren. Nobody’s big enough to meet those expectations. But because there was some chemical charge in the air, it worked. But it didn’t work for us. We played too fast and we played too slow; it was like trying to land a plane with one engine”.
Setlist: The Song Remains the Same, Celebration Day, Out On the Tiles (intro), Black Dog, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Over the Hills and Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Hot Dog*, The Rain Song, White Summer ~ Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again, Achilles Last Stand, Jimmy Page solo, In The Evening*, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown.
*These two songs from In Through the Out Door, which would be released four days later, were played onstage for the first time ever here.